Mock Trial frustrated with fifth place finish at regionals, miss out on state

Freddie Wilhelm | Staf Writer

Mason Mock Trial finished fifth at regionals, narrowly missing qualification to state.

The Comets competed in Batavia Friday, February 10 with hopes of qualifying to the state competition. Mason Green competed in their opening trial against Western Brown and won the round. Senior Larry Gao won that round’s award for Outstanding Attorney, as well as Senior Arnav Damodhar who won the Outstanding Witness award. Gao said that winning Outstanding Attorney was a honor.

“In every trial there are four attorneys, two for each side, the best attorney is the award given to one of the four attorneys in the trial, given by the judges who did the best in the performance,” Gao said. “This is based on how well they perform, cross examine, think on feet, and how they carry themself during the trial”

Mason Green and White made up 2 of the 13 teams at the tournament, making Mason, along with Sycamore, one of the only schools with two teams competing at the regional competition. Head coach Danielle Lyons said this fact shows her teams’ strengths and dominance in the area.

“I think having two teams going to regionals says that our Mock Trial program is very good,” Lyons said. “We are very competitive in our region. We had four teams this year with two advancing to regionals and the other two our freshman, so we have a huge program and with at least three teams next year, but I’m sad to see the seniors go as they’ve accomplished so much.”

In the next round Mason Green found themselves in a dead heat with Reading High School, with Senior Jessica Wang earning the award for Outstanding Attorney. Mason lost by a margin of a single point in a round which would see them qualify to state. Mason White faced Sycamore Gold and lost their round which would have qualified them as well. Gao said this lost was very hard for the team to take given that it was so close.

“I think our team did really well, and I think we should have advanced, and I’m frustrated we didn’t,” Gao said. “In the second trial, I thought we did really well with our performance, especially in cross examination, but somehow we lost.”

Lyon’s said it is hard to say what caused this narrow loss.

“I guess we really have to strategically plan scrimmages and who we scrimmage,” Lyons said. “Other than that I really couldn’t tell you; they got one more point. Unlike a single point or basket in basketball, it’s so subjective depending on who is judging. It’s up to the judge’s preference, style or appeal.”

With both teams finishing with a record of 1-1, Mason Green placing fifth and Mason White placing eighth, if was a sad day for the Comets who were one place away from qualifying to the state competition in Columbus. Gao said the team had an unlucky draw and on another day could have qualified.

“The draw put us against really hard teams, I felt like our draw was harder for us, which was a factor. It also depends on the judges and what the judges think of you,” Gao said. “What’s hard about Mock Trial, judges can sometimes be so subjective, and sometimes they don’t know the case until you are presenting. The point system when it boils down to it is based off opinion and can go for or against us, which can be very frustrating.”

With a large group of seniors leaving the team Gao said it was definitely a sad way to end his High School Mock Trial career, but is thankful for the experience it has brought him.

“Over the six years of doing Mock Trial, and out of my thirty trials I’ve done in Ohio, San Francisco and Atlanta, I’m frustrated with how this turned out,” Gao said. “But I’m proud of how our Mock Trial team has learned throughout. I love the process and working with the team, and I think it was so rewarding in terms of teamwork and building cases.”